Anderson and Bella Vista Railroad
The bottleneck of the operation was the transfer of the lumber from the mill at Bella Vista to the nearest rail connection, which was 10 miles (16 km) away in Redding and on the wrong side of the Sacramento River. Clearly, a standard gauge shortline railroad would need to be constructed. In about 1891, work began on the Anderson & Bella Vista Railroad down the valley of Cow Creek to a the Southern Pacific rail connection in Anderson.
Little grading was required, the only major obstacle being the crossing of the Sacramento River north of Anderson which was originally done with a ferry. The top heavy arrangement of the ferry proved to be fatal for the railroad's first locomotive. A diminutive 4-4-0 named J.C. Kellog which one day fell into the river never to be recovered. The locomotive is still there; it was discovered again during construction of a new road bridge across the river, next to the old one. Following this incident, the railroad opted to build a trestle instead. There are plans to raise the loco.
- Sale to J. E. Terry
By 1897, Enright had sold all his properties, including the A&BV, to Joseph E. Terry, reportedly for $87,000. The 2-4-0 locomotive (obtained from the Visalia Railroad to replace the J.C. Kellog) was appropriately named J.E. Terry.
From the beginning, the road was never intended as a common carrier or passenger road. The top speed was around 15 miles per hour (24 km/h) and most of the business came from the mills in Bella Vista, although other producers used the line on occasion.
- Operating equipment in 1906
The operating equipment in 1906 consisted of a single locomotive, a leased Southern Pacific 4-4-0 numbered 1341 which replaced the J.E. Terry following an enginehouse fire in Bella Vista in December 1905. The line also had one boxcar, Oregon Short Line no. 7385 which was used as a caboose, express car, and coach. In addition there were 2 hand cars, 3 light pushers, and 3 center dumb gravel cars.
This survey of equipment was part of a comprehensive study for Southern Pacific chief engineer William Hood. It seems that the Anderson and Bella Vista Railroad mainline lay directly in the path of the Goose Lake and Southern Railway, a Harriman contrivance, an arm of which was projected into the area in 1906 on its way from the Goose Lake area, via Alturus, some 227 miles (365 km) to a connection with the SP at Anderson. Nothing was to come of the project however.
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—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
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Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she
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“I began reviewing my life in relation to its objectives. I saw no objects, I saw only states.”
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